Category Archives: 100 Word Story
An hour downriver with the current, old Joseph alone in a two-person boat, a bouquet, and a tiny plastic flag. As the tributary broadened to delta, he checked: tanks, rebreather, fins, weight, light. All ready. Beyond the last reeds, open water.
He activated GPS: it knew where to go. The boat’s electric motor hummed and the distance slipped away. Drawing near, he gasped.
Patrol drones floated, alert. Long black guns tracked Joseph.
“Restricted area,” the nearest drone warned. “Retreat or be fired upon.”
Helpless, he turned back: three long hours upriver.
His grandfather resting under the risen sea went unvisited.
The atmosphere’s warming trend slowed suddenly, tapering to a halt in only twenty years. Ocean temperatures shifted their immense inertia to follow suit. The icecaps began to regain weight. The composition of the upper atmosphere changed subtly, and excess carbon precipitated in tiny flecks, staining rains faint gray.
Climate change deniers crowed victoriously. Look how our god provides for us with a repaired environment!
When the aliens arrived demanding slave levies and mountains of resource tribute or else they’d turn off the weather control they’d been exerting from beyond Mars for thirty years — oh, how the deniers wailed and wilted!
At first, Suárez mistook the orange hair and beard among the shrubs for a reflection of his fire.
“Señor?” Suárez said. “Are you lost? I am.”
“Nice suit,” the rough stranger said, emerging into the light.
“I have money at home,” Suárez said. “Guide me.”
“I dreamt I’d scalp an Indian for a bounty tonight. But your Spanish hair will do as well.” His knife shone in the firelight, and he was upon Suárez.
The knife pierced Suárez, but he rolled into the fire. His hair burned orange in the night and he laughed.
A little earlier, I wrote about pessimism in science fiction. Seemed like a nice idea to follow that up with an optimistic little story doodle.
(Untitled 100 word short-short)
The children gasp happily at the view as the shuttle door opens. They set up the picnic on matted needles under a gnarled pine by the beach. I snap pictures of the shoreline and rocks, hoping to compare them to the old paper snapshots my great-great-great grandfather took nearby.
In his snaps, there is a city here, half drowned in a rising sea. Today the sea has retreated again, and the cities are inland, underground; forest and grass and wild animals reclaim a world made mostly of natural beauty.
The dirty work is all in space; Earth is beautiful again.
For centuries, they sent missionary after missionary to help the rising young intelligence see past the biological heritage of survival as battle, to pursue empathy, cooperation.
After enough missionaries were pierced with arrows, burnt, nailed to trees, poisoned at dinner, beaten with clubs, enslaved, drugged, mocked, impersonated for material gain, and made figureheads for war, they stopped sending more.
A twist of space-time delivered the young intelligence and its world to a lonely universe with no other intelligence to harm but itself.
Perhaps one day they will relent and send missionaries again.
But not yet. It is still too dangerous.